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Drive-In Calling It a Night

September 11, 1996|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"Easy Rider," which played at the Stadium Drive-In in Orange when it opened in 1970, will also be among the last picture shows to screen Thursday, the facility's final day of operation.

Eight double bills on the agenda for closing festivities include "Saturday Night Fever," "Cinema Paradiso" and "The Exorcist."

The site is scheduled to be resurrected as the Stadium Promenade, a mixed-use retail entertainment center anchored by a 25-screen Century Theatres multiplex, according to Joseph Syufy, senior executive vice president of Century Theatres Inc. and Syufy Enterprises, both of San Francisco. The center is scheduled to open in November 1997.

Orange County drive-ins, once a symbol of suburban car culture, have been driven past mere obsolescence to almost certain extinction.

Los Angeles-based Pacific Theatres hosted a screen-demolishing ceremony at its Anaheim Drive-In Theatre on Friday to make way for a 25-screen indoor cinema complex scheduled for completion by May. Pacific's Orange Drive-In currently serves only as a swap meet site, and its Highway 39 Drive-In in Westminster may soon make way for a retail project.

The Stadium Drive-In's demise officially begins at dusk at the box office with the presentation of a historic relic from the theater--a drive-in speaker mounted on a plaque--to Orange Mayor Joanne Coontz. Admission is $2.25 per person, the same price charged in 1970.

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